One of the hardest problems that local businesses face is monitoring all the social media channels and metrics that matter. How much time should you devote to social media? How do you measure ROI? Is there a difference between social media and your social reputation?
Effectively, there are two parts to local social media:
- Ratings and Reviews – mostly affects new customer acquisition.
- Social Media Sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) – although originally used for communicating with existing customers, social networks (especially Facebook) have launched ads for targeting new customers effectively as well.
Your local online reviews can make or break your business. A UK Guardian study showed that restaurants with 3.5 stars are 63% more likely to be full than those with just 3 stars and a Harvard Business Review study showed that an additional star on Yelp means 5-9% more revenue. Of course, it’s not just Yelp, but Google My Business, YP.com, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon and FourSquare (still, but declining). Consumers love review sites because they are “unbiased” as in not controlled by the business – 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations!
But just because consumers see these reviews as unbiased, doesn’t mean that they are out of a local businesses’ control. 33% of negative reviews turn positive if you respond to them. You just need to know when they occur and respond quickly. That’s why we developed the Social Inbox – to help local businesses focus on the “To Dos” that will drive their business. The social inbox notifies you of every local business review on local directory sites like Yelp.
The Social Media Metrics That Matter
The number one metric that most local businesses focus on is how many customers follow them across the networks, although not all fans and followers are created equal. With so many social networks, it’s important to understand where your customers are following you now and where they are growing the fastest. Here’s how the Social Inbox shows that growth as an example:
Here you can see that Facebook is clearly dominant and is also growing faster than Twitter. If there were jumps in follower growth, you could see it in the line graphs.
If follower growth is the number one social media metric among local business owners, engagement is the number one metric among social media managers. Especially with Facebook’s organic reach drying up, a follower is only valuable if they engage with you – if they not only read your messages, but engage – click, like, share, comment, retweet, etc. That’s the real value of social media – in creating conversations, amplifying word-of-mouth and driving traffic. And of course, the key is how and what you post.
Above you can see in the bottom left that when the client started posting, they created more engagement. Some of the greatest questions local marketers ask themselves is: “Does my activity create customer value?” and “How often should I post?” These can be more easily answered with social media metrics that correlate your activity with customer engagement. Of course, the best way to create engagement is to make sure to answer each and every message and comment from customers, and that’s where the Social Inbox comes in.
Additionally, you can see from the pie charts in this example that even though Twitter is about one third of their followers, nearly all of the engagement is on Facebook. The comparison can help you decide where you spend your time.
In sum, if you are looking at local social media metrics, there are 3 key buckets you need to measure:
- Ratings and reviews
- Social media followers
- Social media engagement